RITE OF FREEDOM IN KALAYAAN The flag-raising ceremony during the celebration of the 125th Philippine Independence Day on Monday is most significant for residents and
soldiers stationed on the remote island of Pag-asa, seat of government in Kalayaan, Palawan, which has become a symbol of the country's fight against Chinese intrusion. TICKE GERALDFORD

In a historic event, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia visited Pag-asa Island on Monday to personally witness the opening of seven-month voter registration for the 2025 midterm elections on the remote island in the western Philippines. Sea.

In the 2022 elections, the electoral body recorded 521 registered voters on the island, which is a barangay covered by the municipality of Kalayaan in the province of Palawan.

“It is not important that the number of registered voters and would-be voters on Pag-asa Island is not as large as in other cities or towns. What is important is that the Comelec is able to ensure that every Filipino can exercise their right to vote wherever they are in the country,” Garcia said in a statement.

“Especially here in Pag-asa, where the spirit of sovereignty and independence is very much alive, despite being far from the mainland,” he added.

Voter cardsIn a separate TV interview, Garcia said the Comelec would meet on Wednesday to discuss the feasibility of re-issuing voter cards, with the implementation to be implemented for overseas Filipinos “since there are not that many.”

There are around 1.7 million foreign voters.

READ: NPag-asa Island Station for more technology to observe China

“We will eventually issue voter registration cards to our kababayan here in the country. But of course this will depend on the budget given to us by Congress,” he added.

Comelec stopped issuing voter cards in December 2017, in anticipation of the implementation of the national identification system.

The electoral body will also focus on registration in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, with the first parliamentary elections scheduled for 2025, along with national and local elections.

The elected representatives will succeed members of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority, which served as the interim parliament.

3 million additional voters

The voter registration period runs until September 30, from Monday to Saturday, excluding holidays.

The Comelec aims to register at least three million more voters, increasing the voting population from 68 million to 71 million in time for next year's midterm elections.

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To make registration more accessible and convenient, it will implement its Register Anywhere Program (RAP) in all capital cities and highly urbanized towns and cities. —WITH A REPORT FROM GERALDFORD TICKE INQ